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From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches from the Advertising War Paperback – July 20, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Brilliant. . .Best enjoyed after a three-martini lunch.” –GQ (UK)

“When there was some debate about whether something was accurate or not, Jerry said 'You're not even close. It was so much worse than what you're seeing on the show.'"

--Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer of Mad Men (GQ)

“Reads like the transcript of a tape made at a bar or cocktail party with the recorder propped up next to the raconteur at the center of the crowd.” –Salon

“The 'Mad Men' of this book were not mad at all. They were clever and articulate proponents of the American Dream. The book evokes a long-lost era of American self-confidence and optimism, and helps explain how America became a cultural icon.”

Maurice Saatchi, co-founder of Saatchi & Saatchi and M&C Saatchi

About the Author

Jerry Della Femina has worked in the advertising industry for over fifty years, and he was an adviser on the first season of the hit television show Mad Men.

Charles Sopkin (d. 1994), an author, book editor, and publisher, wrote the books Seven Glorious Days, Seven Fun-Filled Nights and Money Talks!

A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot's career spans four decades, and his voice can be heard on television, radio, video games, and documentaries. He has been nominated for an Audie Award and has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards and starred reviews. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451609906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451609905
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Work in advertising? See how little it's changed in the last 35 or 40 years by reading this snarky and cutting look inside the biz. Learn about the pioneering admen (and women, though precious few in those days) who got the account for the first feminine hygiene deodorant spray! Thrill to stories of the first efforts to market Japanese products when everybody KNEW nothing good came from there. Japanese cars?? HA!!

So times have changed a little. But the business remains the same (i.e., utterly absurd), as these backstage stories show.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago, but lost my copy and decided to read it again. The humor ( as in "torches for dwarfs") is still sharp, but many references in the book are so dated from the 50's and 60's that they lack relevance, especially for younger readers. Still, as a historical insight into the advertising world at that time, I recommend it highly. It is well written by one of the real "Mad Men" in the industry. Had I rated this book in the early 80's when I first read it, I would have given it five stars, but it has lost some of its punch over the years.
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Format: Paperback
This was one of those books that you had because you kept your copy of the 1971 edition, or you found it for a buck at some book sale. I don't know much about the show "Mad Men" but I appreciate that its success and Della Femina's association with it have led to revived interest in this once again available classic.

Realizing that Jon Hamm/Don Draper will never be dropping by my place for a drink, this is the next best thing. Probably better, because Della Femina is real and his stories are as true as they need to be.
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Jerry Della Femina's now forty year-old book has been appropriately resurrected with the success of Mad Men. In fact, it is now a text book case of co-branding. Clearly, the original book was fodder for Matthew Weiner's superlative series and, as a result, is now leveraging the television drama on its re-released cover along with an endorsement from Mr. Weiner (the cover art now emulates Mad Men's opening sequence).

Della Femina would be a guy you would want to sit next to on a stool at the Oyster Bar. He would regal you with raunchy stories of Madison Avenue and if you listen carefully enough, you may learn something about advertising. Buried within the stories of drinking, toking, cheating, and playing politics are a few good bon mots like:

"There is no such thing as a bad client. But there is such a thing as bad advertising."

"Most account guys live with fear in their hearts."

"Creative people do not have a business sense about themselves."

"There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that good advertising will do is put you out of business."

Throughout the book there is high praise for Bill Bernbach and his agency, DDB. In fact, he sites the Volkswagen campaign as the industry game-changer and the people from DDB as the successful archetype for the industry as a whole. A beneficial section is on presenting and pitching where Della Femina accurately likens it to theater.

In terms of the Mad Men antics, he summarizes the industry with: "Crazy? Yes. Romantic and glamorous? Not one bit. The wild stuff, I'm afraid, is very much overrated." Which is true in Mad Men when we see agencies and individuals sow the seeds of their own destruction week to week.
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Format: Paperback
Another reviewer wrote: "But be extremely careful when you read anything on advertising because it has been written by advertisers. As Della Femina cautions, "Part of this business - a big part of it - is illusion.""

That reviewer makes an excellent point.

I worked in the Advertising Industry in the late 70s to late 80s. During my career, I met and spoke with Jerry Della Femina on a regular basis for a few years. He was a nice man and a compelling story teller. He knew how to keep the listener riveted.

However, toiling in the Advertising and Marketing industry, as I experienced it, was tough work. The industry required its talent to work diligently and often late into the night to meet tight, seemingly impossible deadlines.

A common sardonic response in the industry to the question: "When do you need this work completed?" -- was a deadpan.......,"Yesterday!"

Yes there was gossip about wild antics, and perhaps some of it was true, but such tales were likely not anymore prevalent in the advertising industry than it is in any other business.

This book is an intriguing caricature of the advertising business written by a very accomplished, intelligent, funny, and likely brilliant marketing man.
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Love this! I heard about it once on TMZ when Harvey said a story reminded him of this book. I googled it and bought it right away. I am a big fan of the mod culture and advertising both. It was like getting the real dirt on what Mad Men should be but can't be because it would either bore some people or be too racy. He does a great job of telling how some of the greatest ads can come down to the last second before they actually meet with a client and how crazy some of these employees really are. If you like Mad Men you'll love this book they based the TV show on!
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